Eat This, Not That: Survive the Holidays with Your Health Intact

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

Maintaining healthy eating habits during the holidays can feel next to impossible. "You have to try this!" coupled with "Oh, a bite won't hurt" can easily lead to overeating—especially if you've been nibbling all day as you cooked.

If it's just one day of overindulgence, you can probably let it go. But when the refrigerator is groaning with the weight of the feast's leftovers, you may be looking at days of overdoing it to come. Here are some tips for enjoying all of the great food, and not feeling miserable, later.

 If you are hosting, stock up on storage containers beforehand, so you can be strategic in dealing with your leftovers. When you put away leftover food, package it as complete, single-serving meals, with a protein, starch, and vegetable, all in appropriate portion sizes. Whether you heat them up to eat for lunch at work, or in between Black Friday shopping outings, they will keep yourself and the rest of your family eating in balance, rather than cleaning up a bowl of stuffing or sweet potato casserole.

Parcel the richest of the leftovers out amongst your guests to take home. And if they're left with you, don't be afraid to throw away the richest foods. Yes, it's wasteful. But it's better for your health than eating half of a pecan pie over the course of the next few days. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth a little over the next few days, feel free to keep the pumpkin pie around; it's a lot better for you than pecan!

Use your leftover turkey for healthy meals: chop up to eat in a salad, cook with broth and rice with vegetables for a paella, or pair with crunchy romaine and a dab of cranberry sauce in a whole-grain wrap for a sandwich. Turkey vegetable soup is another good option for that leftover bird.

Leftover mashed potatoes become a filling comfort food when used as the base for soup. Or put mashed potatoes and leftover turkey to use in a shepherd's pie packed with veggies.

For leftover yams, try sweet potato fritters with smoky pinto beans.

Written by Jennifer Reynolds, staff writer for West Michigan Woman.


More stories you'll love